THE BIG IDEA:
— President Obama has fallen back into negative territory since the Paris attacks.
A slight majority approved of the job he was doing in our poll last month, but a new Washington Post/ABC News poll out this morning shows that his approval has slipped to 46 percent, with 50 percent disapproving.
The fall has been driven almost entirely by concerns about terrorism and refugees.
On how he’s handled the Islamic State, 57 percent of Americans disapprove, with 46 percent of the electorate strongly disapproving.
The intensity of anti-Obama sentiment has also flared up. Forty percent “strongly disapprove” of the president, the highest mark since right after the midterm elections last year.
Approval of Obama’s handling of the terrorism threat also fell to a new low of 40 percent in our survey, down seven points from January, per Post pollster Scott Clement. The share who “strongly disapprove” of Obama’s work on terrorism jumped from 31 percent to 43 percent. The previous record was 35 percent.
— So far, Obama’s losses have not hampered Hillary Clinton. His former Secretary of State still led all GOP challengers on the issue of terrorism in our survey. But his weakness explains why she’s worked to take a harder line and increasingly distance herself on the question of dealing with ISIS over the past two weeks.
— Obama is meeting with French President Francois Hollande at the White House today. Their joint press conference is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Hollande met with British Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday and goes later this week to see the leaders of Germany, Italy and Russia. Above all, a senior administration official tells Karen DeYoung that Obama hopes to discuss how to “take advantage of what is clearly a new sense of momentum and urgency coming on the heels” of a series of recent militant attacks, not only in Paris, but in “Mali, Beirut, Ankara and elsewhere,” including last month’s bombing of a Russian commercial airliner. “We are hoping that more countries that have been in the game in Iraq are going to get deeper in the game in Syria,” said the official.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
— The State Department warned American citizens to exercise caution while traveling because of the threat of terrorism from ISIS, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram. The advisory extends until Feb. 24. One specific: Be careful when using transportation networks. (Martin Weil)
— Turkey said it shot down a Russian fighter jet after the plane violated Turkish airspace and didn’t move after several warnings. Russia denies its aircraft crossed the Syrian border into Turkey.
— Visiting Tehran, Vladimir Putin announced Russia will resume exporting nuclear technology to the Iranian regime. “Russia has also contracted to supply Iran with S-300 surface-to-air missile systems,” Andrew Roth reports from Moscow. “In a sign of the growing security partnership between the two countries, Iran has allowed Russian missiles and strategic bombers in the past month to fly through its airspace en route to Syria.” In his first visit to Iran since 2007, Putin met for more than 90 minutes with the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. In the meeting, Khamenei alleged a Western conspiracy that he says is dangerous to both Iran and Russia. “The Americans have a long-term plot and are trying to dominate Syria and then the whole region,” the ayatollah reportedly said.
— White supremacists allegedly shot Black Lives Matter protesters in Minnesota. Five activists were shot near a police station in Minneapolis, the Star Tribune reports. The victims sustained non-life-threatening injuries. No arrests have yet been made, but police said they are searching for three white males.
— Trump says he doesn’t care if waterboarding doesn’t work. “Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your ass I would — in a heartbeat,” Trump said to loud cheers during a rally in Columbus, Ohio. “And I would approve more than that. Don’t kid yourself, folks. It works, okay? … Only a stupid person would say it doesn’t work. … And you know what? If it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway, for what they’re doing.” He also reiterated his discredited and outrageous claim that he watched “fairly large numbers” of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the 9/11 attacks, per Jenna Johnson. The Donald, meanwhile, told NBC that he has “the world’s greatest memory.”
Ben Carson, meanwhile, walked back a claim that he saw footage showing thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the collapse of the Twin Towers following 9/11, releasing a statement hours after his initial remarks to clarify what his campaign called a mistaken reference. (Jose A. DelReal)
— More data backs up what we’re hearing from voters on the campaign trail. We are in the throes of a very real, very scary epidemic. Four in 10 Americans know someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers, including 25 percent who say it was a close friend or family member and 2 percent who acknowledge their own addiction, according to a big Kaiser Family Foundation survey being released today. Lenny Bernstein got an early look:
- 16 percent say they know someone who has died from an overdose of prescription painkillers, including 9 percent who say that person was a family member or close friend.
- 56 percent of the public say they have some personal connection to the issue.
- Prescription painkiller abuse is most common among whites (63 percent) and the affluent (63 percent among people with incomes of $90,000 or more).
— The Patriots are 10-0 after beating the Buffalo Bills 20-13 on Monday Night Football. “But that came only after they lost two more pass-catchers, wide receivers Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson, to injuries,” notes Mark Maske.
A SCARY MOMENT:
- Four policemen were killed and 12 were injured after a car bomb exploded outside an Egyptian hotel where election officials were staying. (Reuters)
- Belgian police charged another suspect in connection with the Paris terror attacks, but the main suspect, Salah Abdeslam, is still on the loose and the city is still under lockdown. (Loveday Morris and Missy Ryan)
- A street cleaner in a suburb outside Paris found an explosive vest similar to those used in the attacks near the place where a suspect’s mobile phone had been found, which raised the specter that he aborted his mission or fled in fear.
- A Palestinian motorist rammed his vehicle into a group of Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint overnight, wounding three, just as Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Tel Aviv for his first visit in more than a year. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlined plans yesterday for tough new security measures against Palestinians in the West Bank after two more of his citizens were killed in stabbing attacks in less than 24 hours. (Ruth Eglash in Jerusalem)
- Two Chinese men were indicted in Thailand for the August bombing that killed 20 people and injured more than 100 others in Bangkok. (AP)
GET SMART FAST:
- The ACLU sued Indiana Gov. Mike Pence for barring Syrian refugees, arguing that it violates the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act, while Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan doubled down on his decision to not allow Syrian refugees into his state, despite John Kerry sending a letter of reassurance about the vetting process. (Josh Hicks)
- Canada’s new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, will announce his plan today to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees. Aides say all 10 provincial premiers are on board. (AP)
- Macedonia began turning away migrants who can’t prove they are leaving the war-torn countries of Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq. Other European countries are speeding up the deportation of thousands of Pakistani migrants to free up space for those with more urgent asylum requests. (Oscar Lopez and Tim Craig)
- The Seventh Circuit struck down a Wisconsin law that requires abortion providers to get admitting privileges at nearby hospitals as unconstitutional, siding with Planned Parenthood. (AP)
- The Second Circuit ruled that the Justice Department doesn’t have to make public documents related to the targeted killings of al-Qaeda members. (New York Times)
- The Texas student whose homemade clock was mistaken by school administrators as a bomb, Ahmed Mohamed, filed a $15 million lawsuit alleging that he was interrogated by seven police officers and pressured to confess. (Jessica Contrera)
- Hawaii’s Supreme Court blocked the construction of one of the world’s biggest telescopes on a volcano because natives say it would damage sacred lands. (Reuters)
- The University of Ottawa cancelled a yoga class after a student group complained that the exercise method was stolen from a culture that “experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy.” (Justin Wm. Moyer)
- The academic journal Science is rebuking claims by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) that its study outlining the dangers of global warming was rushed, with the publication insisting that its paper published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was subjected to a longer-than-normal review process. (Lisa Rein)
- NASA is not ready to handle the dangers of deep space as it moves ahead with plans to send the first human mission to Mars by the 2030s, the agency’s Inspector General concludes in a 48-page audit. (Jerry Markon)
- Phobos, one of the two small moons orbiting Mars, is spiraling closer and closer to the Red Planet on its way toward an inevitable collision with its host. Cal Berkeley astronomers published a study suggesting that pieces of Phobos will get a second life as a ring around Mars at some point in the next 40 million years. (Los Angeles Times)
POWER PLAYERS IN THE NEWS:
- Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) said that his own wife gave him an “F” for his questioning of Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi committee hearing and his son gave him a “C.” (BuzzFeed)
- Marco Rubio is going on TV in the early states with a 60-second biographical spot featuring his father. It takes a clip from his stump speech about his dad working late nights as a bartender so that he could realize the American Dream. (NBC)
- In response to complaints about Donald Trump’s gig hosting “Saturday Night Live,” NBC will grant equal air time to John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, Jim Gilmore and Lindsey Graham in its commercials and promotions over Thanksgiving weekend. (New York Times)
- Trump and Clinton both came out strongly against the Pfizer-Allergan merger, with Clinton focusing on the tax inversion loophole the pharmaceutical giants are exploiting, while Trump argued (less plausibly) that it will lead to job losses for Americans. (More on the outcry.)
- Carson called Terry Schiavo’s brother but declined to apologize or meet with him. The neurosurgeon raised ire from social conservatives after he said that the political effort to save Schiavo’s life was “much ado about nothing.” (Daily Caller)
- A former investigator for the Benghazi Committee sued panel chairman Trey Gowdy for wrongful termination and defamation, alleging that the South Carolina congressman fired him because he took leave for military duty and did not focus his investigation on Hillary Clinton. Gowdy strongly denies the accusations. (Elise Viebeck)
- Rep. Mike Bishop (R-Mich.) endorsed Jeb Bush. (The Hill)
- Chris Christie ordered his state’s flags to fly at half-staff to honor a New Jersey native killed in the Mali hotel attack. (Asbury Park Press)
- Sanders ate dinner with Killer Mike in Atlanta as part of his African-American outreach effort. The rapper posted this picture on Twitter:
— “Donald Trump, a champion of women? His female employees think so,” by Frances Stead Sellers: Louise Sunshine, a 15-year employee of The Donald’s real estate business, recounts how Trump kept a “fat picture” of her in a drawer, pulling it out when she did something he didn’t like (“totally false and totally ridiculous,” Trump said). But Sunshine, who became executive vice president of the Trump Organization, doesn’t begrudge her former boss, calling him a “valued mentor.” Thus this paradox: Despite the businessman’s sometimes misogynistic barbs on the campaign trail, “…many women who have worked closely with Trump say he was a corporate executive ahead of his time in providing career advancement for women. While some say he could be boorish, his companies nurtured and promoted women in an otherwise male-dominated industry. Several women said they appreciated how Trump granted them entry to a new playing field.”
— The latest in our series on “Confronting the Caliphate” –> “Police call him an ISIS recruiter. He says he’s just an outspoken preacher,” by Kevin Sullivan: “Mizanur Rahman sat in a coffee shop in Palmers Green, wearing a court-mandated electronic ankle bracelet beneath his long, black Muslim robe. British authorities consider him an Islamic State recruiter, so they closely monitor his movements and have taken his passport. He is banned from meeting with more than two people at a time and must spend his nights under curfew at his home in north London. Most difficult for Rahman, he is not allowed to touch any Internet-connected device. … Police believe the 32-year-old is a key figure in the world of preachers, teachers and true believers whose sophisticated online propaganda is critical to the Islamic State’s allure. They says his thousands of tweets and Facebook posts, and fiery lectures on YouTube, are intended to inspire vulnerable young people — from London to Chicago to New Delhi — to join a militant group that beheads, crucifies, burns and drowns its enemies in the name of God.”
— “Playing in the red,” by Will Hobson and Steven Rich: “Big-time college sports departments are making more money than ever before, thanks to skyrocketing television contracts, endorsement and licensing deals, and big-spending donors. But many departments also are losing more money than ever, as athletic directors choose to outspend rising income to compete in an arms race that is costing many of the nation’s largest publicly funded universities and students millions of dollars. … To examine why, The Post reviewed thousands of pages of financial records from 48 public universities in the five wealthiest collegiate conferences.” Two remarkable stats:
- From 2004 to 2014, the combined income of the 48 departments nearly doubled, from $2.67 billion to $4.49 billion. The median department saw earnings jump from $52.9 million to $93.1 million.
- While some athletic programs have eliminated or reduced mandatory student fees earmarked for sports, other programs are charging more than ever. Students paid $114 million in required athletics fees in 2014, up from $95 million in 2004.”
— “Ralph Nader told Fed Chair Janet Yellen to sit down with her economist husband. Now she’s responded,” by Ylan Q. Mui: “Nader issued an open letter to Yellen last month arguing that low interest rates were unjustly hurting savers. … Nader’s letter was even more controversial for the personal sideswipe he took at Yellen, the first woman to lead the central bank in its 100-year history:
Chairwoman Yellen, I think you should sit down with your Nobel Prize winning husband, economist George Akerlof, who is known to be consumer-sensitive. Together, figure out what to do for tens of millions of Americans who, with more interest income, could stimulate the economy by spending toward the necessities of life.
On Monday, Yellen did something unusual. She responded in a missive of her own. ‘Thank you for your recent letter,’ it began. But the tone quickly shifts: ‘It may help to review a few basic facts.’ … Yellen makes no mention of Nader’s comment about her husband. But the letter is signed by just one person: Janet Yellen.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
— ZIGNAL VISUAL: Trump extends his dominance across social media. In what is typically a slow week for news because of the Thanksgiving holiday, Donald Trump has sucked up all of the media oxygen by questioning the patriotism of New Jersey Muslims. On Monday, 46 percent of all mentions related to 2016 were about Trump:
Here’s Trump’s word cloud for yesterday:
–Pictures of the day:
The RNC unveiled its logo for next summer’s convention:
Speaker Paul Ryan posted a photo of this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree from his balcony:
Bernie Sanders met with Rev. Bernice King at the King Center in Atlanta:
Iowa farmer Mike Pattavina plowed a quarter-acre “Bernie” sign in his soybean field:
Ben Carson greeted big crowds in Nevada:
Check out the presidents who lived #NoShaveNovember all the time:
–Tweets of the day:
Donald Trump argued this passage from the Washington Post proves he was right about people cheering the 9/11 attacks in New Jersey:
Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) announced he’ll run for David Vitter’s seat:
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) invoked Thanksgiving to argue for admitting refugees from Syria:
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) rang the holiday bell for the Salvation Army:
Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) announced the birth of his newest grandchild, Carter James Clyburn Hannibal:
–Instagrams of the day:
Marco Rubio braved the snow in Iowa to meet voters:
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) chatted with Santa at an event to pack boxes to feed the hungry:
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) celebrated his 65th birthday on Monday:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
A NEW PAGE FOR LATIN AMERICA?: Soccer fans are cheering the election of Mauricio Macri, a former president of the popular club Bocca Juniors. The son of a rich businessman, Macri — the former mayor of Buenos Aires — represents a sharp break with Latin America’s populist leaders as a center-right politician who is expected to usher in better relations with the U.S. Macri’s win “ends 12 years of ‘Kirchnerismo,’ a populist brand of leftist politics embodied by President Cristina Kirchner and her late husband, Néstor. Together, the pair nationalized industries, stripped the central bank of independence, and ramped up spending and subsidies. Those policies lifted incomes temporarily but hurt investment and stoked inflation.” Macri, a Freddy Mercury fan and Ayn Rand devotee, is already taking a harder line on Venezuela, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has begun organizing its first visit to Argentina in a decade. Read post-election profiles in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and The Post.
— Tampa Bay Times, “Marco Rubio drew strong student reviews, but skimped on job requirements as FIU professor,” by Adam C. Smith: “Even after he became a U.S. senator and started traveling the country as a national GOP star and prospective presidential candidate, Rubio continued teaching Mondays and Fridays at FIU until April, earning $23,448 last year in addition to his $174,000 salary as a U.S. senator. …Students and teaching colleagues raved about Rubio’s work in the classroom and the excitement of having a prominent Florida politician, and later a sitting U.S. senator and prospective presidential candidate, teaching them. Yet, despite consistently strong student evaluations for Rubio, records obtained by the Times indicate he was expected to do considerably more work than he actually performed. ‘The requirements of this position include, but are not limited to the following: prepare and present lectures, develop reading lists, assign and grade homework, prepare, give and grade tests, meet with students, and provide grades to students in accordance with the academic standards of Florida International University,’ stated letters signed by Rubio and his supervisors in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015. But Rubio never developed reading lists or graded papers or tests, according his colleagues.”
— New York Times, “After Paris, voters give Chris Christie a second look,” by Michael Barbaro: “It is too early to tell how the Paris attacks will ultimately reshape the topsy-turvy Republican presidential race. But this much is clear: It has brought sudden intensity, attention and focus to the once-moribund candidacy of Christie. Across New Hampshire, voters are reassessing the man they had all but written off six months ago and whose political standing is still precarious. But for the first time, a solid majority of Republican voters in the state have a favorable view of the governor, according to two polls, a remarkable turnaround from the depths of his unpopularity. And many of those giving Christie a second look are bluntly pointing to the same reason for the change of heart: terrorism. In the days after gunmen rampaged across the French capital, Mark Burns, a 61-year-old businessman from Manchester, surveyed the Republican field for a candidate whose forcefulness matched this scary moment. To his surprise, it was Christie. ‘We are going to war,’ said Burns, who called Christie man enough to lead the battle. ‘He’s the only one.'”
— Politico, “Republicans seek to strangle Paris climate pact,” by Darren Goode and Andrew Restuccia: “Call it the climate cliff. On Dec. 11, Obama administration diplomats will be in Paris working to clinch a global climate deal that will hinge on whether they can back up a pledge to provide billions of dollars to help poor countries deal with climate change. That same day, Republicans back in Washington will be trying to hold that money hostage with a government shutdown hanging in the balance. … Congress must pass a new spending bill by Dec. 11, when a stopgap measure expires. The simultaneous deadlines on each side of the Atlantic Ocean give Republicans a tool to derail a legacy-defining pact for the president and score a rare victory on climate policy. They also significantly raise the stakes in this year’s game of shutdown chicken.”
HOT ON THE LEFT
Climate change worsens terrorism. From the Huffington Post: “Environmental leaders argue that attendees of Paris climate talks have a chance to kill two birds with one stone: mitigate global warming and terrorism. A paper published in March … concluded that global warming contributed to Syria’s conflict by exacerbating the country’s drought, which began in 2006. The lack of rainfall worsened the country’s already unstable water and agricultural resources, forcing 1.5 million rural inhabitants to move closer to urban centers.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT
Electric cars’ dirty secret: All the coal needed to run them. From The Post’s Michael Birnbaum in Rotterdam: “Thanks to generous tax incentives, the share of electric vehicles has grown faster in the Netherlands than in nearly any other country in the world. But behind the green growth is a filthy secret: In a nation famous for its windmills, electricity is coming from a far dirtier source. Three new coal-fired power plants, including two here on the Rotterdam harbor, are supplying much of the power to fuel the Netherlands’ electric-car boom. As the world tries to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and combat climate change, policymakers have pinned hopes on electric cars, whose range and convenience are quickly improving. Alongside the boom has come a surging demand for power to charge the vehicles, which can consume as much electricity in a single charge as the average refrigerator does in a month and a half.”
— What’s happening today on the campaign trail: Hillary Clinton attends events in Boulder and Denver, Colo. In S.C., Donald Trump holds an evening rally in Myrtle Beach and Jeb Bush stops in Greenville, Spartanburg and Rock Hill. Chris Christie speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in D.C. Marco Rubio stops in Cedar Rapids, Grinnell and Des Moines, Iowa, and Lindsey Graham is in Manchester, N.H. Rand Paul speaks in Hazard, Ky.
— On the Hill: The Senate and House are in recess.
— At the White House: President Obama holds a bilateral meeting and a joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande. Later, Obama awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Juliet Eilperin explains how the selection process works here.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Donald Trump is paying attention to me for reasons that are completely beyond me,” Karl Rove told USA Today. “He’s got a limited amount of time that even he can fill. Why does he waste his early-morning hours tweeting out that I’m a total loser and a moron? It’s also funny because in person he’s entirely different. A week ago Monday, I was at Fox. He’s there advertising his book. He comes in and he’s his jovial self and we shake hands. … He starts gesticulating toward me. ‘I want this guy’ — pointing to me — ‘in my corner. I want him on my side.’ I said, ‘No, you don’t. You call me a loser and say we spent $480 million and didn’t win a single election. Who do you think you’re kidding? No, you don’t.’ And we laughed and had a cordial conversation and wished each other well and off we went.”
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
— “Mostly sunny skies, but still a chilled morning as temperatures lift from the 20s and low 30s to the 40s in the morning and then near 50 by mid-afternoon,” the Capital Weather Gang forecasts. “Light breezes from the west at 5 to 10 mph won’t offer as much wind chill as yesterday, so the air will have a little less of a bite to it.”
— The Capitals shut out the Edmonton Oilers 1-0 for their third win in four games. (Isabelle Khurshudyan)
— The next installment of the Bourne franchise is filming in the District from Dec. 2 through Dec. 5 and then on Dec. 7. That means you have five days to spot Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. (Helena Andrews-Dyer)
— On the anniversary of his death, a commission recommended four ways that the D.C. government could honor former Mayor Marion S. Barry Jr.: renaming Good Hope Road SE; commissioning a bust or statue in front of city hall; renaming Frank W. Ballou Senior High School; and naming the student center at the University of the District of Columbia.
— D.C.’s police chief says sometimes rushing the gunman might be the best option in active shooter situations. Cathy L. Lanier says it might save lives not to wait for cops to arrive. She cited the Navy Yard shootings in 2013. “Your options are run, hide or fight,” Lanier said. “I always say if you can get out, getting out’s your first option, your best option. If you’re in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it’s the best option for saving lives before police can get there.” (Peter Hermann)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
— Trump attacked Clinton on Instagram with a video interspersing clips of the Democratic frontrunner laughing with images of the Benghazi attack. “Don’t let the joke be on us” is the tagline. The pro-John Kasich super PAC released a minute-long web video with clips of Trump’s biggest gaffes this year. (Elise Viebeck)
— Seth Meyers mocked Trump, Sanders and Christie in his “jokes of the week” segment:
— Chris Soules, a former contestant on ABC’s “The Bachelor,” recorded a TV ad promoting ethanol that will run in Iowa this week:
— SNL showed famous actors failing their “Star Wars” audition tests. Watch the four-minute skit here.
— To end on a lighter note: U2 will make up its postponed Paris concerts next month. “So much that was taken from Paris on the tragic night of November 13th is irreplaceable,” U2’s Bono said in a statement. “For one night, the killers took lives, took music, took peace of mind – but they couldn’t steal the spirit of that city.”